Virtual Voices

Self-hating evangelicals

Religion

I'm glad to be of Jewish ancestry. I'm generally supportive of Israel and am still surprised to encounter left-wing Jews who ally with anti-Israeli Muslims. There's a name for such folks: Self-hating Jews. Why did Jewish comedienne Roseanne Barr call Israel "a Nazi state"? Emory University professor Sander Gilman, author of Jewish Self-Hatred (1986), notes, "One of the most recent forms of Jewish self-hatred is the virulent opposition to the existence of the State of Israel."

My friend Michael Horowitz has called evangelicals "the new Jews" in terms of facing discrimination and even loathing in some academic and other circles. If so, I'd like to suggest-after reading Rob Bell and others-that we should start referring to evangelical self-hatred. Among the self-haters are those who display virulent opposition to the existence of churches that are not emergent, or don't meet in a house, or are not radically redistributionist, or are not something other than standard.

Bell's best-seller, Love Wins, bashes the church straw men he creates. He repeatedly claims that many churches declare, "Only a select few go to heaven." Maybe he's thinking of Jehovah's Witnesses, but I've been in more than 100 churches and have repeatedly heard the offer of the gospel to all and the hopeful expectation that heaven contains many mansions that will be filled.

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(I don't know how many people go to hell-it would be great if it's only a select few-but I do know that Osama bin Laden belongs there, unless God changed his heart while he was hiding out. If bin Laden's not there, God is showing no regard for the mass murderer's thousands of victims.)

Bell quotes the most outlandish things as if they're typical. He quotes one woman saying, "My father raped me while reciting the Lord's Prayer." Is that what evangelicals do? Why bring up, in the first chapter, such a profane rarity? I suppose evangelical self-hatred sells books, but more than money is involved: It seems to stem from how some evangelicals were brought up. Maybe I'm immune to it because I didn't become a Christian until I was 26-so I'm even fond of Christmas carols.

Do cures for evangelical self-hatred exist? Strong church worship and preaching is key. Solid study of what compassionate Christians have contributed to the world, and increased reporting of what evangelicals are doing now, can help as well. We're trying to do that in WORLD. For now, here's Kevin DeYoung's detailed critique of Rob Bell's book. It says what I'd like to say but says it better.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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